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News Archive for July, 1998

Fray with Scientology escalates to gunfire, St. Petersburg Times, July 28, 1998
The battle between the Church of Scientology and millionaire Robert S. Minton escalated when Minton fired a shotgun into the air after seeing Scientology pickets trespassing on his 200-acre farm in southern New Hampshire. Police in Sandown, N.H., say both sides overstepped their bounds. An investigation of the weekend incident has not been completed, but no criminal charges are contemplated, says police Chief Scott Currier. Minton, a retired investment banker, said he was at the house with Stacy Young, a former Scientologist whom he and his wife have been helping. Minton's wife and daughters flew to England on Friday to visit her family. Late Saturday while swimming in the family pool, Minton said he looked up and saw a man standing on a hilltop beside his barn taking pictures. The man then yelled obscenities, suggesting that Minton and Mrs. Young were having a sexual relationship. Minton says he has merely been attempting to help Mrs. Young and is not having a relationship with her. Scientologists allegedly visited his wife, Therese, at her father's home 55 miles outside of London on Sunday. She is staying with their two daughters, ages 10 and 12. The Scientologists hand-delivered a letter from Rinder. Minton said the six-page letter advised his wife that he was having a sexual relationship with Mrs. Young. Minton said Rinder asked for a meeting with his wife saying they had documented evidence of the relationship. Rathbun, the Scientology official, alleged Monday that Mrs. Young is "shacking up" with Minton. Asked how he knew, he said it was "common knowledge." Minton said his wife knew Mrs. Young was visiting their home on her way to a two-week retreat.
Prosecutors demand 4 years for former AUM finance chief, Monday, July 27, 1998, 8:55 p.m. PDT
TOKYO, July 28 (Kyodo) -- Public prosecutors demanded Tuesday the Tokyo District Court sentence the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult's former finance chief to four years in prison for helping cult members on a wanted list evade police after the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack. Hisako Ishii, 37, will receive a ruling after her defense counsel delivers final pleading at the court Oct. 19. Ishii, who headed the cult's "finance ministry," was indicted on charges of giving a total of 35 million yen and a car to three cultists in March 1995 to help them escape. She is also accused of conspiring with other AUM members and burning the body of a member who died while engaging in ascetic religious practices in June 1993, as well as submitting forged documents to public prosecutors in October 1995 when the cult was suspected of buying land without filing a necessary report to the authorities.
A Web of their own, Salon Magazine, Wednesday July 15, 1998
If you are a Scientologist, your church is hoping that you'll get online and build a Web site endorsing your religious beliefs. In fact, the Church of Scientology will give you a Web starter kit to do just that. It will even host your site for you, alongside those of thousands of fellow Scientology members. But if you want to visit alt.religion.scientology, the Web site of Operation Clambake or just about any page that mentions the word "Xenu," you're out of luck. In fact, you'd probably be unable to read this article. Because the starter kit that you just used to build your Web site also installed what Scientology critics are calling the "Scieno Sitter": a filtering program, like those used to hide pornography from children, that prevents Scientologists from seeing terms and phrases that the church has decided to block. FULL TEXT
Scientology plan to spam and censor the Web, TranceNet, July 17, 1998
At a Church of Scientology rally at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheater this past March 13, Scientology spokesperson Mark Ingber announced an ambitious plan to "enlighten millions" by putting potentially thousands of additional Scientology sites on the World Wide Web. The dissemination program gave members a CD-ROM with software for constructing their own web page, which would be virtually identical to the thousands of other web pages that members would construct with this software. But this otherwise-simple dissemination project by the church included a blatant attempt of censorship against its members: Participants had to agree to install a filtering program that would censor out web sites, words, and phrases that the church deemed unfit for its members to read. FULL TEXT.
Helsinki Commission Announces Joint Hearing With House International Relations Committee on Continuing Religious Intolerance in Europe Thursday, July 23 3:18 PM ET
WASHINGTON, July 23 (PRNewswire) -- The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe today announced that it will hold a joint hearing with the House International Relations Committee: Continuing Religious Intolerance in Europe from 10:00 a.m. -- 12:00 noon, Thursday, July 30, Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, open to members, staff, the public, and press. An alarming trend toward religious intolerance in Europe has been developing over the past several years, as exemplified by the investigations carried out by the French, Belgian, and German parliaments into the activities of minority religious or belief groups. These parliaments have instituted commissions to investigate "dangerous sects" and "psycho-groups," often listing groups in order to warn the public against them. The freedoms of thought, conscience, religion or belief is protected in numerous international documents and in the Helsinki Accords. Furthermore, in the OSCE Vienna Concluding Document, the participating States committed themselves to fostering an atmosphere of tolerance and to prevent discrimination based on religion or belief.
Scientology plan to spam and censor the Web, TranceNet, July 17, 1998
At a Church of Scientology rally at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheater this past March 13, Scientology spokesperson Mark Ingber announced an ambitious plan to "enlighten millions" by putting potentially thousands of additional Scientology sites on the World Wide Web. The dissemination program gave members a CD-ROM with software for constructing their own web page, which would be virtually identical to the thousands of other web pages that members would construct with this software. But this otherwise-simple dissemination project by the church included a blatant attempt of censorship against its members: Participants had to agree to install a filtering program that would censor out web sites, words, and phrases that the church deemed unfit for its members to read. FULL TEXT.
Cult chief to die in nerve-gas case?, Monday, July 20, 1998
TOKYO(AP) -- To many Japanese, Shoko Asahara personifies evil. The convicted con man and self-proclaimed savior allegedly sent his followers into the Tokyo subways during morning rush hour March 20, 1995, with bags of deadly nerve gas and orders to kill. Twelve people died. Three years after Asahara and dozens of his followers were arrested for the worst terrorist attack Japan has experienced, the cult leader's fate remains in the hands of the courts. Charges against Asahara include the subway attack and several other incidents -- 26 murders in all -- allegedly carried out by members of his neo-Buddhist doomsday cult. But the Tokyo District Court has heard testimony on only three of the main charges against him.
Still mourning Diana? Shouting "Hoo" may help, Monday, July 20, 1998, 8:07 p.m. PDT
NEW DELHI, July 20 (Reuters) - The followers of Indian free-love guru Bhagwan Rajneesh have advice for the legions of people still traumatized by the death of Princess Diana. The one-hour drill starts with "deep, fast, chaotic" breathing to bring up repressed tension followed by "total catharsis," or the throwing out of all that has been stirred up by the breathing. Diana fans are then advised to jump with arms raised, shouting the Sufi mantra "Hoo!" Once that is accomplished, they are told to be still and silent, and finally "celebrate through dance."
NEW! trancenet.net live chat room!
We have just set up a live chat room just for readers of trancenet.net publications. Feel free to log in anytime to chat with fellow readers. We also be setting up regular chat times for the major groups that we cover: the Way International, Transcendental Meditaiton, Moon, Hare Krishnas, Scientology, and others. Having been involved on an experimental basis with a chat room for The Way International, we can assure you that live chat be a more lively, fun, and satisfying way to connect with each other. Hope to see you there!
High flyers meet guru, The Guardian (London), Thursday, July 9, 1998
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi preached the virtues of the Veda by video-conference, and the Natural Law parties of the world sought to chart their way to power and "a new collective consciousness" across the globe. The 600 delegates to the international convention of Natural Law parties included ageing hippies, young New Agers, university boffins, political activists and peaceniks from more than 60 countries. Also in attendance were John Hagelin, a US nuclear scientist who wants to be America's president and Geoffrey Clements, who has spent the past 20 years arguing the merits of transcendental meditation in Britain and would like to be prime minister.
Could TMers "fly" for peace?, Social Forces, December 1997
In this balanced and deeply researched paper, philosopher of science Evan Fales and sociologist Barry Markovsky, both of the the University of Iowa, discuss standards to which exotic scientific theories should be held. They use "Maharishi Effect" -- Transcendental Meditation's claim that groups of advanced meditators can bring about peace in war- or crime-torn areas -- as an example. The "Maharishi Effect" provides a special source of pride, vindication, and scientific legitimation for all affiliated with the movement. But when the authors analyze the theory and methods with the tools of the scientific method, they find the probability of the Maharishi Effect Theory is very close to zero. Full article at http://trancenet.net/research.
The Maharishi worships dead master on the Internet, Trancenet, July 19, 1998
In an ornate 4-hour religious Internet broadcast, the Maharishi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, celebrated the traditional Hindu feast day of Guru Purnima. TM practitioners around the world, who steadfastly insist that their group is scientific and not religious, were urged to laud the Maharishi's dead master with incense, fruit, flowers, prayer, and invocations of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and other Hindu gods. The entire 4-hour service may be viewed at http://www.maharishi-fund.org and http://www.vedic-health.com.
AUM victims apply for 22.59% redress from cult, Thursday, July 16, 1998,3:34 a.m. PDT
TOKYO, July 15 (Kyodo) -- Saburo Abe, the court-appointed trustee in the bankruptcy of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult applied Wednesday for approval for victims of crimes committed by members of the cult to receive compensation worth 22.59% of their claims against AUM. Following approval from the court, Abe said most of AUM's assets, totaling some 1.04 billion yen, will be allotted to compensating victims in late October.
Afghan Rulers Planning to Smash TV Sets, New York Times, Friday July 10, 1998
The Islamic Taliban movement, which rules most of Afghanistan, has given the people 15 days to get rid of their television sets or see them smashed by the religious police. Videocassette recorders, videotapes and satellite dishes were also ordered to disappear by Afghanistan's Minister for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue, who reports to the Ministry of Religion. The minister, Mohammed Qalamuddin, called television and video "the cause of corruption in this society." Mr. Sussman, whose organization compiles an annual study of press freedom worldwide, says he classifies 19 of 186 countries as repressive in their control of information. Sussman said other countries that oppress the media strictly "are also going after the Internet for the very same reason, because it's so difficult to control." The Taliban movement has yet to pronounce on that means of communication, which is almost nonexistent in Afghanistan outside the offices of international agencies. The latest Taliban edict on television was announced on Wednesday by the Shariat radio, an official network devoted largely to religion and moral education. The broadcast added that violators of the new ban on television would be punished in accordance with Islamic law, although punishments were not spelled out.
New webzine on Jim Roberts's Christian "Garbage Eaters"
trancenet.net is very pleased to announce the launch of our 11th webzine, The Roberts Parents Group, http://trancenet.net/roberts. Edited by Norm Fishel of the "Roberts Parents Group," the site is devoted to tracking what critics have called one of the most mysterious cults in America: "The Garbage Eaters," aka "The Brethren," aka "The Roberts Group," aka "The Brothers and Sisters." This group was featured on a heartbreaking ABC 20/20 segment this Spring. Members are allegedly lured away from their lives and careers by "The Garbage Eaters," a nomadic, Bible-based cult, who forsake their families, possessions, and all of society, to wander the streets of our cities, homeless, witnessing to other unsuspecting children, and recruiting them to their group.
Japan prosecutors ask death for subway cult member, Monday, July 6, 1998, 1:11 a.m. PDT
TOKYO, July 6 (Reuters) - Japanese prosecutors on Monday asked for the death sentence for a member of the doomsday cult linked to the 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack. The sentence was demanded at the trial of Kazuaki Okazaki, 37, who is charged with the 1989 murders of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, his wife and one-year-old baby son. It was the first death sentence sought for members of the Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) sect, whose leaders are also on trial for a sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo subway trains in 1995 which killed 12 people and made thousands ill. A Tokyo District Court spokesman said it was not clear when presiding Judge Megumi Yamamuro would pass sentence, but the final defense arguments are scheduled to be heard on July 29. Under Japanese criminal procedure, the panel of judges will hand down a verdict after the defence arguments conclude. After that the presiding judge will pass sentence.
Parents sue labor office over son slain by AUM, Sunday, July 5, 1998, 8:08 p.m. PDT
OSAKA, July 6 (Kyodo) -- The parents of a man allegedly killed by AUM Shinrikyo cult members in 1994 filed a lawsuit Monday against a labor office, saying its decision denying them workers' compensation was wrong because their son was murdered on his way to work. The parents of Tadahito Hamaguchi, then 28, from Osaka, filed the lawsuit with the Osaka District Court against the head of the Abeno Labor Standards Inspection Office. The parents filed a request with the labor office in November 1995 for workers' compensation, but the office rejected the request a year later. The lawsuit says such decision was wrong because the Labor Ministry allowed workers' compensation to some 3,700 people who were injured in the March 1995 attack by AUM with sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system.
TM teaches Hindu Vedas, hides meaning from followers, TranceNet, July 3, 1998
English followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are being encouraged to learn "Vedic chanting" at their local Transcendental Meditation centers (M.E.S.A.). According to most scholars the Vedas, the Hindus' most sacred texts, date back to the second millenium B.C. and are collections of hymns and sacrifices to gods such as Indra, Agni, Shiva, and Krishna. However, TM course participants are not taught the Sanskrit meanings of the Hindu Vedas, only the sounds. According to TM "scieintific" theory, simply repeating sacred texts and gods' names delivers their "benefit" whether one understands them or not. Teacher Michel Angot requires his course fee in cash, 1000 French francs, up front -- while openly supported and marketed by the Maharishi Foundation, a registered charity. TM spokespeople publicly claim to be a science and hotly deny that TM is religious despite using Hindu gods' names as mantras, practicing Hindu sacrifices to gods such as Shiva, and chanting Hinduism's most sacred texts. Three U.S. federal courts have ruled TM is religious -- and subject to all the strictures of separation of church and state in U.S. law.
Meditation practitioners file as candidates for top offices, Wednesday, July 1, 1998, 11:10 a.m. PDT
CARSON CITY (AP) -- Two Natural Law Party candidates have filed for top Nevada offices. Robert W. Winquist, 52, of Incline Village filed Tuesday as a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, and Lois Avery, 51, of Sparks filed for secretary of state. By running in races where there are no Democrats, Avery said her party is virtually guaranteed a spot on the ballot in 2000. Minor parties must pick up 1 percent of the vote to remain on the ballot. [Editor's Note: The Natural Law Party was founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1992. Critics of this group allege that its main purpose is forwarding the largely religious agenda of Transcendental Meditation -- a serious breach of the separation of church and state in the U.S. and other countries.]

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